Nearly all the Premier league clubs have made signings but NUFC seem to be having trouble getting new players ‘over the line’.

Still plenty of time to go but instead of ‘hitting the ground running’ as promised by the management, there is now talk of ‘patience’ and ‘getting it right’. Whilst Steve McClaren, in Pardew mode, talks of three transfer windows to get the players he wants.

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What is the problem with our recruitment? Is it because the club has reverted to type with low bids and wages to match, or is it paying the price for past events?

The wider football world has finally woken up to the way that NUFC has been run. For most of the Mike Ashley years, Geordies who complained were seen as upstarts with unrealistic expectations, we ‘did not know our place’. With those ‘Cockney Mafia’ banners reinforcing this view of parochial, deluded fans in our North East bubble. Even the KK tribunal, when the regime was labelled as liars, did not disturb this view.

However, Ashley’s constant dumbing down of the club over the years, with events like the JFK appointment, the Wonga sponsorship, renaming of SJP, the ‘no cups and survival’ for profit policy, but mostly the total lack of investment in the playing squad, has brought the world outside NUFC to realise what is happening at SJP. Those protesting Geordies might just have a point.

In recent years our club seems to be constantly at war; be it battles with fans, dissenting players or the press (unless you are a preferred media partner of course) and this perhaps suggests to potential new recruits that the club is best avoided.

Many pundits have labelled the club a basket case and a poisoned chalice. Some say that Ashley has turned the club into a laughing stock and it’s hard to disagree.

Eventually, out of the so called list of 80 credible candidates, McClaren emerged to take up the challenge, but even he had previously turned us down, twice! The problems he had recruiting an assistant, one of his choices was unemployed, suggests that the club is not the attractive proposition it once was and should be now.

A club with a huge fan base, one of the richest in Europe (despite Pardew constantly telling us we could not compete for signings when he should have said we choose not to compete), a great stadium, a club with huge potential in the right hands.

The club’s reputation under Ashley is such that last year we witnessed Remy Cabella warned away from a move to Newcastle. This window we’ve seen Florian Thauvin told that SJP is no place to be and the Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking telling striker Bas Dost that Newcastle would be a bad career move. Of course they all have their own agendas and motives for their warnings but there is no doubt the reputation of the club is at an all-time low.

mike ashley

This brings me to the issue that always dominates Ashley’s ownership of NUFC – money!

In his carefully choreographed ‘interview’, Ashley said he would ‘continue to invest’, which some took as a sign that he intended to plough more money into transfers. Some have accepted the interview at face value but many, made cynical by past events, suggests that it was a ploy to bring dissenters on board and sell season tickets.

It’s now put up or shut up time at NUFC. In the past we have heard that NUFC have been in for this or that player, only to fail with bids when other clubs came calling.

Our rigid policy of putting a strict value on a player and sticking to it (often, I believe, a ruse for not spending) won’t work this window if they genuinely want to make quality signings. We have seen that recently when Swansea signed Andre Ayew, a player we had supposedly admired, tracked and monitored for two years.  We chose not to compete.

Also, sell before you buy seems to be the Ashley motto.  For example, there are reports of Cisse being hawked around the Premiership. Is this the reason they have not signed a forward?

Most fans feel that we need at least 6 players to be competitive next time round. That will need a lot more than the £25m bandied around by some papers.

If the club wants quality players it will have to do something totally alien to the management. Such is the reputation of the club under Ashley’s tenure, it will not be sufficient to pay the going rate, they will have to pay over the odds in fees and wages to overcome the stigma created by this regime. After all, as Ashley knows, money talks.

It will be the ultimate irony if after all the years of penny pinching that the only solution to sorting the mess we are in, is to overpay to get players through the door.

Will the club do that or, as many suspect, revert to type and follow the failed transfer policies of cheaper imports and bargain buys that have got us into so much trouble in the past and likely do so again?

Either way, Mike Ashley will have to pay the price for past events.



  • Honestly , the summer transfer window is a bad time to do business. Now shut up and renew your season tickets  !

  • NottsToon

    There is a lot of conjecture from both sides, but that is what happens when there is a vacuum of information caused by lack of action and communication from the football club. When people don’t know they can only speculate, and Mike Ashley fuelled that speculation perfectly with his scripted and vague interview.

    We can only base any speculation on empirical evidence, which teaches us that the plan for the summer will be minimal investment unless sales are made and costs are cut.

    To add my own speculation here I believe that the lack of action thus far is because they know a marquee signing like Austin with eat over 50% of the summers budget. So with no guarantee of sales they are reluctant to spend the money when there are so many areas which require attention.

    If this remains the case we can expect one of 2 scenarios…

    1)  We sign a player like Austin and cross our fingers for cheap deals that turn out well and use the loan market.

    2) We spread the budget to 5 or 6 players at a cost of between £3m and £7m in the hope that they become world beaters, or at least improve the first team squad enough to steer away the relegation threat.

    Honestly, if I had to choose what I think will happen it will be number 2, unless they manage to flog Cisse and Tiote for over say £12m….which is unlikely.

  • TonnekToon

    I wish Newcastle was in his past !

  • jack1x

    Yeah a bad time for Newcastle and no one else , your one of the many that will just go ahead and renew your season ticket , that’s why Ashley silk keep doing what he is doing because of people coming out with statements like you .

  • Toonarden

    devonbay I would like to think your comment is tongue in cheek sarcasm. If not you are typical Ashley cannon fodder who feeds his ever growing personal bank balance and our club’s diminishing reputation. Shame on you if it is the latter.

  • Phildene

    I agree whole heartidly with Toon Terriers article. though Ashley we’ve now got such a rotten name that no one will come here! we’ve been waiting for this to happen and seems like it has. 

    The only thing good to happen so far is Caver and Stone were sacked and McClaren seems to be bringing in some good backroom staff, infact some VERY good backroom staff, who will cast an eye over our squad and squirm with embarrassment with what they’ve inherited-a squad full of mostly decent players who have been left to fend for themselves during training and are not match fit-the amount of muscular injuries are a disgrace! so we should see a turn around with these players in fitness and playing-we hope!. Players like Sissoko coming back to the way he was when he first come here for one. We’ll look forward to that.

  • fireflyuk

    devonbay The January one is not much better either ;-)

  • dude 1

    The fat man wants your money only fools part with their money and there quite a few supporters are fools why can’t they see the big picture? Easy because they are fools and fools rush in as the song goes so don’t spout off those of you who are expecting great things this season because it will not happen and this is my opinion and I will say this till I am proved wrong
    The fat man only wants money your money why spend his own when he knows the sheep will follow well I think it is time that the sheep stopped following and show him we mean it this time round

  • That comment was obviously a bit too deep for some of you. It was a sarcastic take of Penfolds winter diatribe . I’m pleased your’e not renewing your season tickets , it’s the only way to get rid of fatty .

  • desree

    wrong, wrong, wrong. We don’t have to pay over the odds, we just have to pay market rate. Market rate for an 18 goal a season striker is 20-30 m. Austin is actually below market rate.
    The game and rules have changed in ever business. Adapt now Ashley or get relegated

  • DavidDrape

    Brilliant and well put into words. I kind of guessed on the footy grapevine the club was getting itself a sxxx reputation. the new manager will be expected to bring on youngsters to save money

  • Andgeo

    That is exactly what will be expected this coming season. Unfortunately young players need experienced players to bring them on and we don’t have any!

  • Andgeo

    The current squad lacks quality and depth and without quality reinforcemts, will get relegated.

  • Andgeo

    What ever they decide to go it will be too little too late. ASHLEY OUT!!!

  • GToon

    Do you know how many did renew?

  • JohnBatchelor

    We will sign no one because nothing has changed. We will have yet another terrible season due to this thoroughly flawed and cynical way of running a football club. 8 years into this horrible situation I can’t believe anyone really thinks MA will do anything differently.
    Only an idiot continues with a strategy that fails utterly again and again whilst expecting a different result each time.
    I’m done with this season already.
    Ashley out. Literally anyone else in.

  • v0ices

    GToon my guess is 30,000 to 40,000 will have renewed its a hard habit to break.

  • v0ices

    NottsToon i wonder if ashley even realises that spreading the budget out on gambles ( yes every player is a gamble but some are bigger than others ) just leads to a squad full of poor players on decent salaries that use the clubs resources for no gain.

  • v0ices

    JohnBatchelor the problem is that for ashley it is working he makes money, his main asset sports direct make money and get free international tv exposure.  why change a winning situation as far as hes concerned football is a pain i bet he wishes the club didnt have to play.

  • foggy

    How can a club who treats a cancer sufferer as badly as Jonas was treated be seen to be a club worthy of joining ?

    Look at what happened to Jonas, how most players have gone backwards, how talented players were shown the door.
    Is it any wonder why players want to avoid the toon like the plague ?
    Ashley / Charnley and co have some very serious fence mending to do.

  • Alsteads

    v0ices JohnBatchelor I think this could be a season that things turn for the worse for FCB. He was either brave or stupid when he decided to alienate most of the press. With a bit more back bone and protest from the fans and some press behind it it may shake FCB like it did at the end of the season. Most certainly because we are in for a catastrophic season if we don’t sign any players. Mclarens knowledge and coaching will get us to about 30 points but thats your back with what we’ve got pulling a shirt on. Im done with the club and despite being torn in two to what might have happened to us if we had of went down I was still sort of hoping to go down just to see if it changed things. Yes it would of been a massive negative gamble but whats the options??? watch a nothing club play in nothing matches in a league where we get humped 3,4,5 even 6-0 almost every week. I’m looking at some of those players going for frees and if we really wanted to, we could of got them and they would of come to play at StJames in front of 52,000

  • Andgeo

    Exactly! Who wants top international players if they don’t like the cold, demand too high wages, their club places unrealistic valuations on them, we couldn’t offer them European football because it’s a waste of money, couldn’t get them over the line coz of agents fees or we couldn’t compete financially with the bigger clubs like Swansea, Palace or Bournmouth????
    Our club has become a complete disgrace, and the way it is being run for the benefit of sports direct is a total insult to the game and all newcastle supporters.
    The only way we can move forward is to get Ashley to sell up and leave. As long as our club belongs to him, his team of legal advisers and accountants with sports direct will always have a bigger say in the running of our club than “the football board”. This is a shirade, McClaren and co have the job of getting the best out of what they are given and the real people of influence around Ashley will remain nameless and faceless.
    As long as this situation continues decisions vital to the performance of Newcastle United on the pitch that involve any element of finance will be made for the benefit of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct empire and not our football club.
    Nothing’s changed; Ashley Out!!!

  • Andgeo

    And they are doing nothing!

  • Andgeo

    Totally agree, the likes of Richards, Vlaar, Sinclair, ayew and cleverley would have strengthened our squad significantly and with decent money INVESTED in a quality centre half and a quality striker, we would be looking in much better shape going into the new season.
    But that would mean spending money on wages and fees. Sports directs view of this is likely, does this money need to be spent? Not so much how can this money be invested.
    If ashley thinks he can stay up this season with what we’ve got, is he likely to spend a penny?
    I would be astonished if we were not left completely disappointed with what the club does between now and the start of the season.
    Simply because everything they do nowadays is feeble and pathetic.
    Ashley out!

  • ToonAgitator

    Great article. Ashley will have to pay over the odds but will refuse to do so. Ideally this results in relegation as nothing else will shift him.
    We all know it, nufc will never ever punch it’s weight under Ashley , ever, he should be hounded out of the club at every opportunity.

  • ArtyH

    I stand to be corrected on this but I seem to remember when he first cam here Chris Mort stated that Ashley would invest £20m of his own money into the team building every year. Or am I mistaken? If this was correct where has that money disappeared to? Paying off the loan?

  • mactoon

    ArtyH  He did promise £20 million a year for player investment but as soon as the fans started to complain and wanted him out, he came out publically and said there was no need to demonstrate, he had heard the fans and would be putting the club on the market. This move signalled the end of the £20 million per year promise

  • mactoon

    Good article, it would appear the same tactics are being employed. Value a player a lot less than the club does and stick to that meaning there is never any chance to get the players. Im just pleased the football community outside the area has realised what the club is being run like under Ashleys tenure

  • mirandinha9

    JohnBatchelor – couldn’t agree more. A leopard doesn’t change his spots. Everyone thinking Cashley will seek to gain ‘success’ by spending funds to achieve or be close to achieving a top 4 finish, really needs to have a word with themselves. The TV interview was solely about his strategy to ‘hook’ in what he would perceive as the gullible Geordies for a further year of season ticket sales.

  • JohnBatchelor

    mirandinha9 Andgeo Alsteads v0ices 

    I’d  had a few ales when I wrote that first comment but I’ll stand by it. A sorry state we’ve come to with this club we no doubt all love.

    As soon as MA goes the sooner we’ll all be able to enjoy football again!